As a small blog, I don’t have the traffic to bring in a lot of money from Google Adsense. In my opinion, display advertising is the easiest way to make money, but not the easiest to earn.
To supplement my blogging income, I diversify the money I make from sources such as affiliate marketing.
I started making money with affiliate marketing through the niche sites I’ve created a few years ago, so I was well aware of how it worked and how it would benefit my blog.
Back in the day, I would find a product and build a website around it. It worked, but it took a lot of energy and time to get enough traffic to make it worthwhile. Today, I still have a few niche sites that bring in money that I don’t have to touch, which makes the work in the beginning worth it.
As a blogger, I didn’t want to have to work that hard to make a couple of hundred of dollars each month. The difference is that now I create content for my blog and then look for complementary affiliate products.
This is much better because the products I now refer is done with my readers in mind, which I have found profitable.
Before I continue…
…If you haven’t started your blog yet and want a step-by-step guide on how to set one up – check out my post on how to Start a Blog.
My newer affiliate strategy has allowed my affiliate income to increase by 300%. I don’t throw up a bunch of affiliate links and hope someone clicks on them (which I admit was the strategy I used years ago).
Now I only refer products and services I know will help my readers. I’m helping them to fill a need, but I am rewarded for it as well.
I can say it has been easy, but I can honestly attribute a great amount of my success can to Michelle Shroeder-Gardner’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. My only regret is that I didn’t take it sooner!
Michelle makes over $100,000 (not a typo) a month with her blog, primarily from affiliate marketing.
So to say she knows a little something about affiliate marketing – is an understatement.
Can you be successful with affiliate marketing? Yes, but it depends.
You will not make much money spamming your readers with links all throughout your blog. (Trust me, I learned that the hard way).
You will, however, be successful if you honestly refer products and services that will really help your reader. No one wants to be sold to, so if you can help them – they won’t mind helping you in return.
Top Affiliate Marketing Programs for Bloggers
Finding affiliate programs used to be difficult to find. Nowadays the problem is that we’re so inundated with choices, that we either pick the wrong ones or sign up for too many.
This method turns readers off and instead of encouraging people to buy, you are getting them to mistrust you. If you’re marketing 100 items, how will your readers know if your interest in that product or service is genuine?
Affiliate marketing works well when the following exists:
- You have an audience (either through your blog or social media platforms)
- Your audience trusts you (people buy people, so if there’s no trust no one will buy from you)
- The product or service makes sense for your audience (no recommending orthopedic shoes to college students)
- You have actually tried the product and service and liked it (again with the trust factor, because if you recommend crap, people will lose faith in you and not make any purchases)
Having said that, here are my top affiliate marketing programs for bloggers to sign up for.
No matter your niche, you can never go wrong with Amazon’s affiliate program. This was the very first program I ever signed up for and it is my go-to when I can’t find a product or service that directly relates to my post.
Amazon has everything! This in itself makes it 100% worth it, and one of the best affiliate programs for bloggers- especially when you consider that the commission is as low as 4% (this rate increases as your volume does).
Sign up is easy, but you may not be able to participate if you live in a Nexus state, so check their rules first. You can sign up for Amazon’s Affiliate Program here.
It’s only natural to offer a web hosting and one of the most popular affiliate programs for bloggers to join is Hostgator.
Hostgator is an affordable and user friendly hosting provider, which makes it easy for you to make your mark on the internet. Sign up for Hostgator as an affiliate here and earn about $50 for each sale.
These bundles are highly popular because they are a great opportunity to gain access to ebooks, ecourses, etc., at a highly discounted rate. The best part is that you’ll earn 40% of every bundle sold.
To sign up for Ultimate Bundles as an affiliate, click here.
This means that once you apply to and are accepted into Shareasale, you will be able to apply to individual programs within their network (most require approval, but there are some that offer automatic approval).
You can request payment when your account reaches $50 each month by check, direct deposit, or Payoneer. Apply to join Sharesale here.
Similar to most other networks, you will have to apply to each individual program before you will be able to market their affiliate links.
Impact Radius offers programs to big names such as Target, Enterprise, as well as many smaller ones as well. My definite favorite is Swagbucks, which is a good fit for almost everyone.
The approval process of Impact Radius is a little more thorough (or so it seems) than some of the other networks. Someone will call you and ask you to verify some of the information you put into your application.
They will also ask you to place code into your blog to verify that you own it. To apply for Impact Radius, click here.
There seem to be quite a few email offers (which pays you when someone simply signs up for an offer with their email).
One thing I like about Peerfly the most is that once they accept you, you are automatically accepted into most of their programs.
Their premier programs, however, do require you to reach a certain level in sales and transactions before being accepted.
You can request a payment when your account reaches $50 from the previous month. Apply to Peerfly here.
Once you are approved by Viglink, you will be able to log into your dashboard to see what offers are available to you.
Viglink seems to work best for those who write about products, such as fashion or mommy bloggers. So if you’re doing well with Amazon, this may be the program for you.
Apply for an account with Viglink here.
If you’re looking for digital products, Clickbank is a great program to consider. The commissions for Clickbank products tend to be higher, around 50% or so, making it a bit more profitable than others on this list.
I recommend doing your research first, because depending on your niche and audience, Clickbank may be a profitable option for you. Their gravity score is an indicator of success on their platform, so you should definitely look into it.
There are also some not-so-good products, so if you want to maintain the trust of your readers, it’s worth it to buy the product from the vendor first before referring it.
Sign up for Clickbank here.
MaxBounty is an affiliate network that is great for smaller blogs. Depending on your niche, you should be able to find many offers to make money from.
If you’re having a hard time monetizing your blog or struggling to earn enough income, consider signing up for MaxBounty.
I’ve found that some of the offers are more lucrative with MaxBounty from other affiliate networks, even for the same offers.
Payment is made once your account reaches $100 every month (weekly after your first payment and each time it reaches the threshold amount.
Go here to sign up as an affiliate with MaxBounty.
Earn $25 for each person you refer to Ebates – with no limits! To sign up as a partner go here.
These are not the only affiliate programs out there, however, I have found great success with these. I recommend them for newbie bloggers or those who don’t know what products to refer to their followers.